Corbyn: An evasive response

November 24, 2016 23:31

On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn's campaign finally responded to the questions we posed to him on last week's front page. The issue of Mr Corbyn's association with a number of unsavoury characters had somehow previously escaped scrutiny. But it is clear from his evasive responses to us, and his tetchiness when dealing with subsequent questions posed by others, that the man who is likely to be the next leader of the Labour Party considers it almost impertinent that anyone should question his bona fides. And yet his answers are not remotely satisfactory. He says, for example, that his description of Hamas and Hizbollah as "friends" was "purely as diplomatic language in the context of dialogue". Which is all very well - but can anyone seriously imagine him as leader of the opposition even meeting Benjamin Netanyahu or Ayelet Shaked, let alone describing them as "friends"? His supposed diplomatic friendships have so far been entirely one way.

No one suggests that Mr Corbyn is an antisemite. But, as we said last week, it is difficult not to see a pattern in his associations. And his refusal to concede that he might have made any misjudgments in making common cause with the likes of Raed Salah and Dyab Abou Jahjah is deeply concerning in a man who will probably soon be Leader of the Opposition. On Wednesday he first denied knowing Jahjah, even though in 2009 he said he would lead the appeal against the former Hezbollah fighter's banning order. Only after pictures of the two men together emerged did he later concede they had met. No wonder our poll shows that 7 in 10 of British Jews are concerned. The closer we get to September 12, the more likely he seems to be named as the next Labour leader. These are worrying times.

November 24, 2016 23:31

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